Leadership and management the talk of annual SBDC Day 2024

Events were held at the historic Holman House in Ozark as well as virtually.

Events were held at the historic Holman House in Ozark as well as virtually.

Troy University’s Small Business Development Center kicked off the third annual SBDC Day Wednesday with a series of webinars plus an in-person event led by Sorrell College of Business graduate and SBDC Advisor Will Pouncey.

Holding both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from TROY, Pouncey is the Managing Director for Optics Capital Advisors, a firm that specializes in M&A and Investment Banking. Pouncey’s workshop, titled “Leadership and Management for Industry Professionals and Entrepreneurs” focused on soft skills for business owners.

“(Entrepreneurs) need to understand the difference in the hat they wear as the leader and the hat they wear as the manager, how to inspire and motivate people on a day-to-day basis versus in the long term, and maintaining energy and having discipline,” he said. “And finally, the process of how to design their business and put the tools in place for people to be able to succeed and have the guidance they need.”

After graduating from TROY, Pouncey continued to be involved through the SBDC and has made several trips back down from his home and business in Birmingham, Ala., for events like Wednesday’s.

“I keep coming back because of the people,” he said. “Juliana has been very helpful to me and I like being back in town, going to Fuse Coffee, giving back to the people who helped me. I’m always happy to come back to TROY.”

Juliana Bolivar and Holle Smith
Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation President Holle Smith and SBDC at TROY Director Juliana Bolivar with the proclamation from the Ozark City Council.

Serving ten counties in southeast Alabama and beyond, the Alabama SBDC at TROY helps create opportunities for small businesses by providing them with expert advice, training and resources that level the playing field with larger competitors. It provided confidential, one-on-one assistance to 158 clients last year.

This the third annual TROY SBDC Day event under Director Juliana Bolivar. The first event was held virtually, and the second event was held in Troy with virtual events. This year’s event was held in Dale County and followed an official proclamation by the Ozark City Council and Ozark Mayor Mark Blankenship dubbing March 20, 2024 as TROY SBDC Day in the City of Ozark.

“We’re looking to host events every year in the other counties we serve,” she said. “We provide knowledge and empowerment to our business owners, and we want to make sure we’re meeting the needs of our communities. This is why we partnered with Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation and the Ozark Area Chamber of Commerce—because they know exactly what their community needs.”

In addition to the in-person workshop, SBDC Day featured six other webinars including: website development; a roundtable with the IRS in best practices; how to prepare to file taxes; online marketing; how to build credit; and a webinar in Spanish on how to prepare taxes.

Wendy Cook, Human Resources Director for Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, said she attended the workshop to learn how to better serve her team.

“I really learned a lot about developing processes and realized that maybe helping formulate the process would help us be more successful,” she said. “I’m going to look into some of the workflow systems (Pouncey) recommended and see if that helps us with those processes.”

The Alabama SBDC network is a partnership program with the US Small Business Administration, the State of Alabama and Alabama’s higher education institutions.